Kalakukko -or- Fish-filled Bread Loaf

You want to hear something funny? I got a hit the other day from somebody searching for “kiwi mussels how to cook those bitches”. Somewhere out there is a very angry mollusk eater, and I hope that they found what they were looking for here. A quick search shows that I have three recipes for mussels currently available, so that must be what all the search engine love is about. Yay for bivalves. You want to see something kinda funny looking? Breadfish! What, you thought it was just an internet meme? Far from it! Yes, that filling is fish. European …

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Karelian Pies

Here’s something I’ve meant to mention and never got around to — Karelian pasties! They’re these hand-sized pies filled with baked rice porridge in a rye crust. Which makes it a carbtastic twofer, since I’m fond of both rice and thin toasted crusts. Almost every market here sells them, and the bigger ones bake them fresh in the kitchens. They’re a bit labor-intensive to make at home — I’d found a recipe online and was going to try to make them back in Cali, but never got around to it. Now all we need to do is go next door …

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The Garden: Expanding Up and Out

A week and a half since my last garden update, but these super-long northern summer days mean that we’ve had more than two weeks worth of sun in between. And it shows! You can practically hear the plants growing. I’ve already harvested three colanders full of salad from my box of lettuce and it’s still going strong. The extremely short nights (it doesn’t really get dark anymore, just this twilightish sort of glow for a few hours between midnight and 3AM) mean that the soil is never really cooling down, so the plants are fast forwarding through their development like …

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Midsummer in the Archipelago

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Just sharing some pictures from this past weekend, which we spent out at a cozy little cottage on a tiny island in the Baltic Sea. There were wooden rowboats and we caught perch with fishing nets! We bathed in the sauna with real rainwater! We grilled sausages and heard stories about the wayward moose and bears that sometimes wandered by! It was like a much nicer version of 6th grade camp, and loads of fun. Except for the mosquitoes, of course, but after encountering ones the size of seagulls in Angeles National Forest during one particularly terrifying night shoot, I’ll …

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The Lake Next Door

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I might have mentioned it before, but we live next to a lake. It’s about five minutes down a woodland trail, just past the recycling bins. I took these pictures a couple weeks ago when we went for a walk down there. There is a path that circles around it, and it takes under an hour to walk around the whole thing if you mean it. Just a little bit longer if you’re strolling and taking pictures. We went in the late afternoon, around 7ish, while the sun was still bright but the air was cooling down. The flowers were all …

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Pommac

So here I am, staring at the computer and wondering what I am going to write about. I have a few posts in draft stage but they need a bit more experimentation and kitchen work before they are ready. Then I happen to turn and look at the bottle I’m swigging from. “Huh. That works.” So this post comes into existence. This is Pommac. It is a golden-colored fizzy soft drink that tastes like the love child of Dr. Pepper and ginger ale. There are definite notes of apple and grapey-berry in there, but it is unlike any other soft …

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Basil and Black Pepper Chocolate

So really, it’s kind of miraculous that we haven’t been gaining weight, considering how we’ve been freely sampling our way through the candy, pastry and ice cream aisles of the supermarket. The boy is determined to make up for all those years he spent pining for good chocolate (a lot of the stuff in the US uses some chemical or wax that tends to give him stomach aches) and I’ve just been fascinated by the different varieties they have. Fazer Chocolate accounts for 65% of Finnish market share in chocolate and is produced locally in Vantaa, which is next door …

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Pike Cioppino and Lilies of the Valley

Nothing too in-depth today, just wanted to share a couple of photos. Yesterday was a pretty good day. We had the boy’s family over for dinner and I made my favorite cioppino with whatever seafood I could scrounge from the supermarket. Which ended up being a pound of frozen mussels (smaller than the kiwis I’m used to but still tasty), a pound of frozen shrimp (the wee kind, sadly, which shrunk even further in the stew), and a pound of fresh northern pike. It’s a great fish for stews of this kind, with mild white meat, though it is a …

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Out and About.

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I was downloading pictures from my camera and realized that these had been sitting around for two weeks. These are pictures of the Church of the Holy Cross. It’s a 15th century Franciscan monastery church. We were strolling around with ice cream cones and it seemed like a good place to stop and take some snapshots. Old Rauma, the city center where this church is located, is about a ten minute walk from our apartment building. It also happens to be the largest and most well-preserved example of a Nordic wooden town and looks straight out of the 18th century with …

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